Rosetta blog: CometWatch from Earth – 22 May

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Astronomers regulating ESO’s ground-based Very Large Telescope (VLT) in Chile are examination a growth of Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko’s coma and tail from Earth. This picture is formed on information acquired on 22 May and is about 300 000 km far-reaching during a widen of a comet.

Comet 67P/C-G on 22 May taken with a VLT/FORS2 instrument. It is a multiple of 2 x 30s R-band exposures, aligned on a comet. The comet changed opposite a credentials stars between a dual images, heading to double stars in this combination. Credits: Colin Snodgrass / Alan Fitzsimmons / ESO

Comet 67P/C-G on 22 May taken with a VLT/FORS2 instrument. It is a multiple of 2 x 30s R-band exposures, aligned on a comet. The comet changed opposite a credentials stars between a dual images, heading to double stars in this combination. Credits: Colin Snodgrass / Alan Fitzsimmons / ESO

The comet’s dry coma and tail is swept divided from a Sun, that is towards a left of a picture in this orientation. The tail can be seen to widen during slightest 120 000 km in this comparatively shoal image, and in deeper images, a coma alone is estimated to be during slightest 80–100 000 km across.

As any pixel in this picture spans roughly 400 km during a comet, both Rosetta and a iota of 67P/C-G are too tiny to be resolved. But images like these yield critical context information for a images taken by a booster tighten to a comet, as a activity increases towards perihelion.

At a time a picture was taken Rosetta and a comet were about 238 million km from a Sun; during perihelion on 13 Aug they will be between a orbits of Earth and Mars during a widen of about 186 million km from a Sun.

This picture will be shown as partial of a BBC Sky during Night TV programme in a UK on Sunday 14 June. The part is a Rosetta special and includes interviews with a series of scientists deliberating what we have schooled about Comet 67P/C-G so far.

 

Source: Rosetta blog